Driver Sentenced In Bridge Crash

OCEAN CITY — An Annapolis man plead guilty this week to driving under the influence and was sentenced to serve 45 days in jail after a high-profile incident last winter.

Around 2:20 a.m. on March 4, Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officers were dispatched to the area near the base of the Route 50 Bridge and Philadelphia Avenue for a reported vehicle accident. Ocean City Communications informed the responding officers a vehicle had struck the median and its wooden pylons before the driver fled on foot.

OCPD officers arrived on the scene and observed a disabled van facing south in the eastbound lanes on Route 50. A short time later, an employee of a nearby convenience store informed Ocean City Communications the driver, later identified as Charles Allewalt, 30, of Annapolis, was inside the store. OCPD officers responded to the convenience store and made contact with Allewalt, who reportedly matched the description provided by witnesses at the scene.

Allewalt denied he was the operator of the vehicle that had driven over the median at the base of the Route 50 Bridge and through the wooden pylons before becoming disabled in the eastbound lanes of the span. The investigation revealed the van was traveling southbound on Philadelphia Avenue when it failed to negotiate the on-ramp to the Route 50 Bridge and crashed into the median.

According to police reports, the van was damaged to the point it was completely disabled and was blocking the eastbound lanes on the bridge. A review of the town’s City Watch surveillance system footage revealed the van ran into the median and through the wooden pylons with the driver fleeing the scene on foot.

On Wednesday, Allewalt pleaded guilty to driving under the influence and was sentenced to one year, all but 45 days of which were then suspended. He was also placed on supervised probation for three years. Allewalt was also found guilty of other traffic violations, but those were merged for the purposes of sentencing.

During the spring meeting with State Highway Administration (SHA) officials, the Mayor and Council pushed for some sturdier type of barrier at the base of the Route 50 bridge including a guardrail or Jersey wall. However, SHA replaced the old wooden bollards with taller, thicker and sturdier versions.

About The Author: Shawn Soper

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Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.